Caring for your little’s one’s natural hair takes a lot of love and patience, but once you get the hang of it, you can confidently add the title of hair stylist to your impressive mom resume. By Thobeka Phanyeko
Your tot’s hair is delicate and should be handled with care. “The key thing to caring for your child’s natural hair is never to rub the hair vigorously, be it when shampooing or moisturising,” explains co- founder of Kurlz&Kutz kids hair specialists, Tshilidzi Makhari. “Hair is made of layers of cuticles, which when lying flat down against each other, lock moisture in. Vigorous activity on the hair opens up the cuticles that result in moisture loss and dry brittle hair,” she says.
She shares her top tips for caring for natural hair:
Avoid using chemicals
Your child’s scalp is still developing and should not be exposed to the harsh chemicals contained in relaxers, as they can burn and sting the scalp and in some cases cause irreparable damage. Your child is also likely to end up with scarce hair and a receding hairline.
Keep your little one’s scalp healthy
A healthy scalp bears healthy hair so use mainly water and a combination of hair oil and shea butter to seal in the moisture.
Keep your tot’s hair moisturised
You will achieve this through regular treatment, spritzing the hair with a combination of water and leave-in conditioner (for added moisture and nourishment), seal in the moisture with a combination of hair oil and shea butter.
Avoid making braids too tight
Braiding is a protective hairstyle, where the ends of the hair are not exposed to the elements to prevent excess dryness and hair breakage. The key thing with braids is for them not to be excessively tight and also not to braid the edges to avoid traction alopecia (hair loss).
Opt for products specifically developed for children
Children’s scalps are very sensitive as they are still developing and prone to skin conditions such as eczema so it’s important not to use any products that contain parabens, sulphates, mineral oils and sodium. If you and your little one both have natural hair, it’s not advisable to use the same products, because adult ranges can sometimes contain ingredients in quantities that are not suitable for your child’s developing scalp and skin.
Look out for natural ingredients
Products that contain green tea and nourishing hair oils like coconut oil, argan oil and grape seed oil are always best.
Tips for hair growth
- Ensure you treat your little one’s hair at least once a month as the deep conditioning gives the hair extra moisture.
- Never vigorously rub the hair after washing, but rather gently pat away excess water using a micro-fibre towel.
- Always seal in the moisture using a combination of nourishing healthy hair oils such as coconut oil and argan oil in combination with shea butter.
- Use your fingers to detangle the hair into a style Instead of blow drying and combing your little one’s hair. You can easily feel a snag in the hair that you can work through using your fingers, which results in hair growth and much less hair breakage.
Try these products
For Little Angels
The range is enriched with both coconut and argan oil for added nourishment in each of the products. Exclusively available at Kurlz & Kutz hair specialists. For more information, visit kurlzandkutz.com.
An affordable range of hair products specially formulated for kids with afro and mixed-race hair with curls produced locally. Available on sliqkidz.co.za
My Natural Hair Kids
The dynamic range includes gentle shampoo, soothing conditioner and kiddy hair butter to deeply mosturise and soften your child’s hair. Available on mynatural.co.za.
Thobeka Phanyeko is mom to Oratile, 4. She is a journalist with a BA in Media studies from the University of Cape Town and has extensive experience as a journalist and content producer which she gained from Reuters, eNCA and Caxton Magazines. She is also a life coach and NLP Practitioner and is passionate about motherhood and women empowerment.